Introducing the UWP Export for Windows 10


Posted by Mark Alexander on 23 October 2015

Windows 10 introduces the new Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which is designed to be playable across a wide range of devices from tablets, to phones, to desktop PC's and even the Xbox One. This new platform is supported by GameMaker: Studio (currently in the Early Access build only), and to help you get the most from this new target platform we are going to explain how to set up the development environment and deploy a game.

NOTE: While the UWP target does permit the porting to multiple targets, GameMaker: Studio UWP in Early Access currently only targets desktop with the other platforms being supported in the future.

What You Need To Get Started

Before we can get down to the really fun stuff of actually making a game, we need to get the grunt work done and set up our development PC correctly, as well as sign up for the UWP alpha from YoYo Games. For that you will need to have fulfilled all of the following steps (in the order given):

  • Sign up for the Windows 10 UWP target module with YoYo Games: This is very important as without signing up for the UWP program you cannot licence GameMaker: Studio to use the UWP target. Also note that the initial free testing period (assuming you are accepted for testing) for the UWP target will only be for the duration of the Beta period.

  • You will need to have Windows 10 installed on your development machine running GameMaker: Studio. See here for details on getting Windows 10.

  • You then need to download and install the correct Developer Tools, in this case a copy of Microsoft Visual Studio Community 2015, which you can get from here:

When installing Visual Studio, note that you need to do a Custom install, as you will need to make sure that VS2015 also installs the required UWP tools, as shown in the image below:


Once you have Virtual Studio installed, you need to prepare your PC or devices to permit development, which is covered next.

Enable Your Device For Development

When building apps for Windows 8/8.1, you had to have a developer licence, which in turn had to be renewed every 30-90 days. With Windows 10, this is no longer necessary and you can build and test on your devices without this, as long as Developer Mode has been enabled for them. Visual Studio will prompt you to do this when you first create a UWP solution, so let's do that now.

Open Visual Studio and create a blank UWP:

Create a new project > Visual C++ > Windows > Windows Universal > Blank App (Windows Universal)

This may open the following prompt telling you that you need to enable developer mode (if it doesn't then you may already be in developer mode and can skip this step):


Here you should click on the Settings For Developers link which will take you to the Windows 10 Update & Security page. On this page you need to select the For developers section.

Note: If you don't want to (or can't currently) use Visual Studio for this, you can access these settings directly from Windows 10 Settings > Update & Security > For Developers.

Here you want to select the Developer Mode option:


There are other methods for entering into developer mode and getting the correct permissions outlined from this Microsoft article here.

Installing App Dependencies

With the developer mode enabled, you can now go back to Visual Studio (or open it if you haven't already), and again create a new project:

Create a new project > Visual C++ > Windows > Windows Universal > Blank App (Windows Universal)

You now need to compile the blank UWP test app to two different targets – debug and final – to install all the required app dependencies. S, you would first run:

- Debug > x86 > Local Machine

and then:

- Release > x86 > Local Machine

This is very important as without doing this, your games won't install correctly from GameMaker: Studio later.

GameMaker: Studio

It's time now to open GameMaker: Studio and, if you haven't already, sign into your YoYo Account. You should then update your licence and after restarting GameMaker: Studio, go to:

File > Preferences > WindowsUWP

and select Check Native SDK to make sure the SDK is ok.


If you do not have the Windows UWP option, you may need to re-license GameMaker: Studio again by going to

Help > Update License

and then restarting the program.

You have now performed all the necessary setting up and can compile and test games for the Windows UWP target, which will be available from the drop-down menu at the top of the IDE. You can see a video of a standard UWP deployment here:

When you have finished your game and want to publish it to the Microsoft Store, you can once you have set up the Global Game Settings and registered the App name. In a coming article we'll go through what you need to do to submit your game to the Microsoft App Store.


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